Exploit natural resources to speed up GDP, economist urges FG

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Dr Aminu Usman, Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, Kaduna State University says the Federal Government should find ways of exploiting the nation’s natural resources to speed up the Gross Domestic Products (GDP).

Usman said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja.

GDP is the total monetary or market value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country in a specific time period, which functions as a comprehensive scorecard of the country’s economic health.

Nigeria’s GDP in 2017 was 377.8 billion dollars and grew to 397.3 in 2018.

However, the figure showed a decline due to oil output revisions recorded in the first quarter of 2019 by –0.16 per cent points.

He said that exploiting the nation’s natural resources would create jobs that would produce a new class of spenders to drive consumption and further
investments in new ventures and expansion of existing ones.

Usman said to speed up GDP growth rate, government needed to do a lot by creating a conducive environment for economic activities to thrive.

“Budget implementation, especially the capital budget must be done on time. The issue of diversifying the economy away from oil has been over flogged but must be stressed again,” he said.

He, however, said it was good that the GDP increased year on year even though it declined quarter on quarter.

He said the quarter on quarter decline could be attributed to the impact of elections that were conducted toward the end of the first quarter.

The economist also said the intervening period to wind up the previous government and usher in newly elected governments at various levels in the country also contributed to the decline in GDP growth in the second quarter.

“There is a lag period between elections and installation of a new government and this has always led to a slowdown of economic activities with government being the biggest player in the nation’s economy.

“There was also the factor of delayed rains at the beginning of the rainy period which also affected inflation, investment plans and expectations,” he said.

On whether the GDP figures have any impact on the lives of common people, Usman said it was part of the problems of development of the under-developed countries.

Usman said the robust figures being shown could not be translated into improved living standards of the average Nigerian.

“In fact, the opposite is what usually happens. The more robust the figures, the further impoverished the citizens are.

“This is because the figures are driven by the oil sector which is not the major GDP contributor and the main GDP drivers are performing poorly,” he said.

NAN reports that the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Sept. 3 said that the nation’s GDP grew by 1.94 per cent (year-on-year) in real terms in the second quarter of 2019.

According to the NBS, the figure indicates an increase of 0.44 per cent compared to a growth rate of 1.50 per cent recorded in the second quarter of 2018.

It said the figure, when compared to 2.10 per cent (revised from 2.01 per cent due to oil output revisions) recorded in the first quarter of 2019, showed a decline of –0.16 per cent points.

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